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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Antarctic krill Euphausia superba larvae have flexible diets during winter and feed in both sea ice and the water column. Photo: Rob King, Australian Antarctic Division

Walsh J, Reiss CS, Watters GM


Flexibility in Antarctic krill Euphausia superba decouples diet and recruitment from overwinter sea-ice conditions in the northern Antarctic Peninsula


Nutritional resources in sea ice around the northern Antarctic Peninsula are considered critical for the overwinter survival and successful recruitment of Antarctic krill Euphausia superba larvae. Walsh and co-authors used four consecutive winters of data on krill diet, length distributions, and environmental variables to examine the annual relationships among larval condition, recruitment, and overwinter habitat. Sea-ice cover varied each year, and was not a significant predictor of larval diet. Water-column chlorophyll-a was the only significant predictor of diet. Annual recruitment was not related to sea-ice cover of the previous winter. Krill larvae around the northern Antarctic Peninsula are flexible with respect to winter diet and can successfully feed in the water column when sea ice is scarce or absent.


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